A Way Out


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title A Way Out
Synopsis After Liette attacks the leader of the Institute and threatens everyone's security, Doctor Luis finds himself presented with the difficult decision of what to do with her sister Julie.
Date November 1, 2011

The Commonwealth Arcology

The Commonwealth Arcology has two extremes with regards to its interior design. One is industrial; a nearly Brutalist architectural style inherited from the original plans that inspired the arcology as drafted by renowned futurist Paolo Soleri. This skeleton was used by the Department of Defense when construction on the facility began in the late 1950s when it was intended to become the Indigo Plain Government Continuity Facility. Ultimately, those plans were scrapped, and the foundations of the arcology sat for decades. It was on this framework that the Ark, as it has become to be known, was built. This utilitarian skeleton is wound with labyrinthine maintenance corridors of bare metal and concrete. All of this stands in stark contrast to the second architectural style: optimistic futurism. The personal quarters and newer construction all have a brighter-lit and cheerfully sterile atmosphere. Walls lined with white plastic shells, polished glass, and mirrors. Everything is sleek and new feeling, even down to the bleeding-edge technology incorporated into the inset wall displays.

One room in particular, belonging to Julie Fournier, carries more cheer and charm than most. At Julie's request, her white-walled room features streaks of vibrant color. Faded pinks, yellow, and blue in wavy streaks along the walls that form abstract but cheerful designs. A recessed pit-couch in the middle of the room is upholstered in carnation red fabric, and the white teardrop table in the middle is decorated with numerous sketchbooks and watercolor paintings. Stains from spilled watercolor paint mar the sofa and the floor below, but none of that bothers Julie overly much. This is her gilded cage, the place where she spends nearly all of her life, and often times spends it alone. For her safety.

"Come in," Julie chirps before her forthcoming guest can even give a perfunctory knock on her door. Blue eyes alight to the entrance as several magnetic locks unfasten and the door swings open. The weary face of Doctor Jean-Martin Luis is a welcomed sight to Julie. She straightens up and stands on the sofa's cushions, crawling over its back and out of the furnished pit on bare feet to greet her surrogate father. "Papa," Julie hapily cheerfully greets. As she walks. the lace hem of her white dress swishes at her ankles with each step around bare ankles. Luis, usually so cheerful in greeting, seems forlorn. Julie can sense his apprehension now, she wasn't looking for it before. When two doctors enter in behind him, each with a white metal briefcase, Julie's approach halts entirely.

"Could we sit down?" Luis asks in a hushed tone of voice, raising a warding hand to the two doctors who linger by the door as it automatically shuts behind them. Furtive blue eyes flick to the doctors, then back to Luis. Though, knowing only trust, Julie reaches up and takes Luis' hand and leads him over to the stairs that step down into the recessed living room pit. Then, gingerly, helps him settle down on the paint-stained cushions. Distracted for a moment, Luis picks up one of Julie's paintings, a matte black piece of paper with a stencil in the middle.


"What's this?" Luis asks, turning the watercolor painting around to face Julie. She settles down, one leg crossed over the other at the knee and hands folded just so in her lap. She regards the painting with one raised brow, then looks to Luis as if he asked a strange question. "Did you…" Luis sets the painting down on the table, "did you paint this?"

"It's the future," Julie notes with an incline of her head. "It's dark, but there's…" she scrunches her nose and seems to have difficulty explaining the rest. "It's always dark before it gets light again." Luis' expression shifts from intrigued to troubled as he looks to the doctors by the door, then back to Julie.

"Is this — this is from an ability, isn't it?" There's a faux-paternal tone that rises in the back of Luis' throat. "Julie, when did you pick up precognition? You — this wasn't in your journal. We've discussed this." At the accusation, Julie shrinks back and rolls her shoulders forward, brows furrowing as she regards Luis more suspiciously.

"Simon told me to," Julie says in an offended tone, eliciting a look of frustration from Luis.


Calloused fingers strum across the strings of a well-sorn acoustic guitar. Slouched against soft throw pillows in a large, round bay window, Else Kjelstrom watches simulated droplets of rain streak irregular paths down a digital window. One of her legs dangles out of the window frame, toes touching the floor. Her brows knit, head down, eyes shut, fingers gliding across the strings. After a moment, her eyes open and she finds her voice again. "Cold weather, winter winds blow. Though we were never there to begin, we'd find our way back home. Cold weather, winter winds blow, we left for tomorrow and followed it home." Her chin lifts, eyes partly open to reveal white slits. "We saw through the eyes of our own forgotten dreams, we walked in the shoes of our mothers' memories. We stood on the grave of our yesterdays, and we let the wind carry us on." She plucks a few chords, head tilting to the side. "Cold weather, winter winds blow. Far from tomorrow we're ever to go, but when we look back in time all their faces are there, the people we lost in the journey to — "

A knock on the door jolts Else from her siren song. Eyes uncloud, and the muse looks up to the door and gives a hesitant, "In." Magnetic locks pop one by one, and as the door opens the tall and dark silhouette of Simon Broome looms large. His dark eyes scan the room, from the handwritten journals laid out on the table, to the small bed and its toussled blankets. He looks to Else, the window beyond her, and offers a weary smile. "It's sunny out today," Simon explains of the weather beyond the walls. "Didn't the window update?" He doesn't enter the room, not just yet.

"A'like the rain," Else offers quietly, slipping off of the door to walk barefoot with guitar in hand to the table. "Besides, what's the point of a magic window if y'don't use it t'be magical, right?" There's wryness in her tone, the bitterness of the last few days having left her. Simon furrows his brows, looking to the rain and then Else again, before finally taking a few steps inside. The door doesn't close behind him, but instead allows in a both familiar and unfamiliar face. "Liette?" Else asks in a breathless voice, but Julie only smiles and shakes her head, raking one hand through straw-blonde hair a shade darker than else's dyed and dark roots.

"This is Julie Fournier, twin sister to Liette." Simon explains, patting Julie on the back and issuing her into the room. As the door slowly shuts itself, Simon makes his way over to the table, offering an appraising look down to journals full of scribbles and ink, but no actual words. He restrains himself from frowning disapprovingly, but only just. "She's an empath, after a fashion. If you're familiar with her sister's ability, it should be no surprise to you." Else pulls out a chair and sits, resting the neck of her guitar against the low table's edge, then takes a real look at Julie while motioning to an empty seat. No such invitation is made for Simon.

"You might notice there ain't no snow out that window," Else chides Julie, playfully. "Per'aps we can keep it that way, yeah?" The younger woman's cheeks flush and there's a ruefully apologetic look that starts to cross her face, before Else plants a hand on Julie's head and ruffles her hair. "S'olright. It all worked out in'a end, yeah?" Then, Else's dark eyes alight to Simon. "She my new roomie?" She asks with a chipper sarcasm. Simon shakes his head, weathered hands folding behind his back.

"No," he admits with a shrug of his shoulders. "But I thought that perhaps you two could… collaborate on something. To the best of our knowledge, Else, you're the only precognitive ever encountered with your specific ability. Julie may be able to help inspire you to, shall we say new heights?"

"An' this doesn't 'ave anythin' t'do with my telling you t'stick your Refrain up yer ass?" One of Else's brows raise, and Simon grimaces at the retort.

"I'd be lying if I said it didn't. Our medical records show your most accurate songs were — "

"She's good," Else cuts Simon off. "I liked Liette, an' Julie seems like a good kid. We can play together, maybe start a band an' move out'f yer basement?" The tone of Else's voice is light, hopeful, but does mask a deeper cyncism and resentment at her current predicament. Julie, to her own credit, leans forward and laces her hands together while listening. With a sigh, Simon nods and picks up one of Else's notebooks, flips through it to find nothing legible, then sets it down on the table again.

"We're running out of time," Simon admits, wearily. "I hate to be the one with the goad, but all our lives could be at stake. You do understand this, yes?" Else nods once in response, and Julie reaches out to take one of the musician's hands, giving it a firm and reassuring squeeze. Else melts a little with the young woman's reassurance, and then looks up to Simon with dark, searching eyes that are just a shade less black than his own.

"We don't need a producer," Else jibes, and Simon actually laughs at the comment. Taking a step away from the table, he offers Julie a concerned look, then to Else something more measured and pointed. Make it work, is what it implies. The or else is there too.

Present Day

Once Julie is finished with her story, Luis rubs one hand at his brow and looks to the doctors by the door. Unable to change the course of actions as they stand, he reaches out to take Julie's smaller hand in his own and gives it a gentle squeeze. "Your sister is in significant trouble, right now. You can probably feel that." Julie's eyes, locked on Luis', widen ever so slightly. But then, regretfully, she offers a wordless nod in agreement. "She's stolen a dangerous ability that could be used to hurt many people, whether she knows it or not. I've — " Luis looks to the doctors by the door again, then back to Julie. "I'm sorry."

Julie's eyes flick to Luis, the doctors, then back. All it takes is a moment for her to be able to read his intentions and determine the cause and effect of what's coming. "No," she rasps in a whisper. When the doctors see her agitated, they begin to close in on the young girl. One opens his briefcase, removing a syringe from within while the other unholsters a tranquilizer gun from his belt. The motion has Julie scrambling from her seat, over the back of the sofa, bare feet squeaking across the floor as she does.

"Julie," Luis breathes, rising to stand and looking scoldingly at the doctors. "There's no other way. Please, don't make this any harder on yourself than it has to be." Terror flashes in Julie's eyes as she slips, drops to one knee, and then scrambles back on her hands and heels away from the doctors.

"Papa, no! No! I'm not a bad one! I'm good! I'm good! Don't — don't put me in there!" Tears well in Julie's eyes as the doctors begin their slow circling. The one with the tranquilizer gun raises one cautious, warding hand to the young woman in the way someone might a wild animal they're afraid will bite. The other preps his syringe, looking to Luis momentarily for permission. When Julie sees Luis — her ostensible father — give the doctors permission to close in on her, she lets out a sharp scream. "Stay away!"

At that outburst, one of the doctors is flung off of his feet and smashes into the ceiling, shattering glass tiles that rain down with a shower of sparks from broken circuitry. Luis ducks, covering his head, then looks up at the doctor pinned to the ceiling with horror dawning on his expression. "For the love of God sedate her!" Luis cries, and the other doctor fires a tranquilizer dart from his gun that stabs painfully into Julie's abdomen. She lets out a keening, hurt whine and fires a betrayed look at Luis. The air in front of her ripples, and another kinetic wave strikes the tranq-wielding doctor, sending him careening past Luis and into the wall, knocking off photographs of landscapes, boats, and birds. They hit the floor loudly, glass in the frames shattering.

"I'm not a bad one! I'm good! I've been good! Please no!" The walls vibrate, bolts and screws begin to jostle from the walls. Luis scrambles across the floor, now on his hands and knees, grasping at the syringe dropped by the doctor still pinned to the ceiling above. Julie catches sight of Luis, and the air around her ripples again, but this time the force is only that of a strong breeze and not a gale force blast. The drugs are already working, Julie's vision swims. The last thing she sees is Luis, crawling over to her and placing a syringe in her neck. She feels not only unconsciousness clouding her senses, but something more precious taken away.

The connection to her sister.

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